Replacing a Radiator

The radiator on my '97 Honda Accord (4cyl no vtech) is cracked. The crack is about 4 inches long, right on the top of the unit on the plastic part. How difficult would it be to replace the radiator myself? My boyfriend and I have some experience working on cars and are pretty handy. Everything I’ve found makes it look simple to replace. The shop wants $400 to $500, but I can get the parts for about $125. Should I do it on my own, or is it more difficult than it looks?

Autozone has a repair guide for the Accord, here is the section on radiator replacement. It should give you an idea what’s involved. The only tricky part might be disconnecting the automatic transmission cooler lines.

Here is the link, registration on the web site might be required but it’s free.

Good luck,

Ed B.

On this vehicle not bad at all…Get a manual if uncertain on how to do it…

One of the simpler things to fix, just be patient, take pics to make sure you remember how it came apart. A Hayes or Chilton manual would be good to have.

The other thing to check is your motor mounts. My radiator cracked when my motor mounts went bad, letting the engine rock back and forth.

this would be a piece of cake.

Just a couple things to keep in mind. Make sure you take a good look at the replacement to make sure it is the same size, the hose fittings are the same, and if you have an automatic transmission, that the trans cooler fittings are the same. (I used NAPA) The only difficult part might be with the transmission cooler connections depending on whether they are hose clamps or fittings. If they are fittings, they can be a little hard to get off without twisting the lines.

It's an easy fix.  Get the replacement radiator first and look at it next to (as best as you can) the radiator in the car.  Most of the work is removal of plastic cover and such, the radiator is only held in by 3 or 4 bolts.  Take a picture before and during removal with your phone for reference.  Take your time, especially with the transmission connections.  Remember that a radiator "floats" and is supposed to move a little bit (at least our '95 Civic and '89 Accord do).  It will take you and afternoon if you're not a mechanic.  Rocketman

Thank you all so much for your tips and advice! We’ll take what you’ve said and give it a shot on our own this weekend. Thanks again for all your help! :slight_smile: Will let you know how it goes.

I’d go to a U-Pull-It-Yourself salvage yard. Remove the radiator from the salvaged vehicle. You get a cheap replacement and you learn how to do the job without worrying about ruining anything in your car.

" You can do it, we can help. "

the anti-freeze in your coolant must be captured in a closed container when you drain it, because it is poison and some old coolant does not have the bitters in it, and it has a sweet taste that attracts children and animals.
Can you wire brush and epoxy the leak? That is the cheepest fix that will work.
IF the hoses are stuck to the inlets and outlets, you may need to get under the hose with a screw driver to lossen it after you remove the clamp. I always replace the hoses and clamps when I replace a radiator because if one fails the others are not far behind.
Anyway, have fun, get dirty, and fix that thang.